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Chevron Refinery, Soon in a Hotel Near You



Chevron Refinery by night, soon in a hotel near you. Copyright: Miriam Mannak

Last week Friday, I sommer received a phone call from a guy who runs a graphic design business. One of his clients, the Radisson hotel folk, found one of my pictures online. They loved it so much, in fact, that they want to use it as the main artwork in their new City Park Hotel in Cape Town (in the CBD). How awesome is that? This is basically what they want to do with it:

* In the Hotel Lift Lobby on the Ground Floor, my image will be divided into 5 separate panels approx. 500mmx600mm)

* The lift lobbies on the other 9 floors, will feature 1 image from the panels downstairs

* My image will be printed and hung in the Passage Wall (again divided into 5 separate panels)

I think it is rather fantstic! The design company is meeting the client this morning, to discuss my terms and conditions. Let’s keep fingers crossed!

Now about the picture: I took took quite a while back at the Chevron refinery just outside of Cape Town. It is a night shot, taken on a tripod and with a long exposure. The red flare is a truck passing by (I was standing rather close to the road), and the yellow stripe is its headlights.

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Life of a freelancer: When it rains, it pours!


The life of most freelance journalists, writers, and photographers (or any freelancer, really) is dominated by a couple of tricky issues. First and foremost there is the challenge of getting paid when you want to get paid, not when the client thinks it is time to come to the table.

While we humble freelance service providers are expected to meet deadlines at all time in order not to be shown the finger, many clients seem to be far more relaxed when it comes to their part of the deal – namely ‘paying out’. A Portuguese newspaper (Publico) took over ONE YEAR to pay me, despite the hundreds of emails I sent!  (Last year, I dedicated a blog post to Freelancers’ pet hates).

I have solved this bloody annoying issue without mercy: I simply refuse to work for greedy bastards who take weeks, months and sometimes years to make their promised money transfer. I have indeed culled some clients who clearly do not give a rat’s testicle about whether I am able to pay my rent, electricity bill and groceries. I fired them. Water under the bridge. Weakest link. Blah.

Then there is the issue of managing the number assignments. I am the type of person who starts stressing when there is nothing to do. As a result, I begin to pitch stories like there is no tomorrow. Yes, to ALL my clients. There is however one problem: my story pitches are usually very solid and as a result, my steady clients seldom reject them. I tend to forget that sometimes.

Two weeks ago, after filing all my stories for Business Live (One of my preferred clients, by the way) I found myself staring at the ceiling. Instead of relaxing and taking a breather – I had just done four 14-hour days of reporting on the 2011 Mining Indaba in Cape Town (which was quite hectic) – I allowed the  stress  to hit me with the impact of a jack hammer on steroids.

You have to understand that a freelancer’s main worry is whether we have enough cash at the end of the month to pay our rent, bills, glass of wine, petrol, and other necessities. In addition, we have been preprogrammed to harvest while we can. Why? When you run your own show, you never know when another good month or assignment comes around.

So two weeks ago I started pitching stories like a headless chicken – forgetting that 90% of my clients would probably say ‘yes’. And so they did. Over the past ten days I wrote:

* A 12-page UNICEF report on the situation Haiti

* A 1200-word story for Leadership Magazine on the necessity of stimulating entrepreneurship in South Africa to fight unemployment

* 700-word story for Radio Netherlands Worldwide on South Africa’s economy (linked to the 2011 Budget speech)

* A 800-word story on South Africa’s budget and a 900-word story on sustainable tourism in South Africa for Het Financieele Dagblad

* A 1700-word story on drinking and driving / road safety for Mobility Magazine.

Currently I am still working on a 1000-word story on Acid Mine Drainage and water management for Energy Forecast. That story needs to be finished today (another 500 words to go) because tomorrow I have to write a report on the Transformation Audit by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation for Business Live. This particular client also wants a story  on the Design Indaba.

Raining? RAINING? Pouring? It is more like a bloody monsoon!

I know I should not be complaining, and actually I am not. I love being a freelance writer and love being busy. I just wish I could manage the flow of work a bit better in order not to be grossly overworked like I am at this very moment. Yawn!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Tales of a Freelance Journo

 

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Bye Bye 2010! Bring on 2011!


Done. Dusted. Finished. Klaar. The year 2010 has finally drawn to a close and that, Dear Readers, was about bloody time.

It has been a roller coaster of a year, that I can say for sure. Look, work wise things went extremely well – especially when compared to its recession and crisis dominated  predecessor (during which many publications were forced to put freelance contributions on hold). 2009 was a bitch fro hell, which resulted me doing all sorts of brain dead jobs instead of focussing on my passion, journalism, in order to make ends meet.

Last year, things went much better indeed. I gained access to quite a few more publications, including Mining Magazine, Leadership in HIV, Black Business Quarterly, and Energy Forecast – among others. No, 2010 was definitely a winner work-wise. The 2010 World Cup obviously contributed to that. For six weeks I worked flat out, and did assignments for Panorama Magazine (Netherlands), De Stentor newspaper (Netherlands), Spits (Dutch newspaper), Het Financieele Dagblad (The Netherlands), Demotix (Photo agency), News Pictures, and others.

The 2010 World Cup in general was a genuine highlight of 2010, and not just from a mere professional point of view. It is difficult to express in words how it felt to be in South Africa over this particular period of time. The sense of unity was mind-blowing, and so was seeing South Africans from all backgrounds putting their best foot forward to ensure the 2010 Football World Cup would end up in the history books as one of the best ones that ever took place. When ever I hear Waka Waka, I get goosebumps. I am, despite all the challenges facing South Africa, proud to be part of this country.

From a personal point of view, things were more hectic. In the first quarter of this year I decided to end a long term relationship because I had my suspicions things ‘were not right’. This proved to be the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. To keep a long and painful story short: the person was not whom I thought he was. I basically had to wade through gazillions of lies, that had been piling up over a period of 1.5 years in order, to find out that the relationship had been a utter lie. I will spare you the details, but I can assure you that it has been a  rather unpleasant experience. Eventually I came out stronger and I have, most importantly, learned to always always trust on my instincts. I am furthermore sure Karma will take care of business in a suitable manner.

After the World Cup, I met someone else – a wonderful guy who made me feel warm inside. For the first time in ages I felt alive again. Unfortunately this relationship came crashing down like a ton of bricks. Then there was a long-term friend who for some reason cut all ties with myself and another mutual friend. Friends to me are family, thus therefore I took this ‘breakup’ very very hard. To this day I have no idea why she cut all ties and why my / our friendship had to be thrown out with the garbage. Regardless of that, I wish her well and hope she is/ will be happy in life, love and all the other stuff.

And much more happened, but I am not going to bore you guys with my personal little soap opera.

Some good things did happen in 2o10 and that was meeting some great people in 2010. Together with my existing friends they have been simply amazing. They have been the people who helped/dragged/drank/pulled me through the madness of 2010. Thank you guys. I owe you. Big time!

Bottomline of this blog is that whatever happened in the previous year: 2011 is going to be better. Way better. I feel it in my bones. I am, for starters, planning to move from Cape Town’s city center to Muizenberg or Kalk Bay. I love that part of the Cape Peninsula and after having lived in the City centre for the past 6 years, I think it is time for a change of scenery. I love my friends dearly and my plans by no means mean I have had enough of them. On the contrary. I simply want to broaden my horizons and live near the ocean – preferably with more space around me. That – more space and perhaps even a small garden – is unaffordable in the CBD.

So, finally, I plan to kick some serious ass in what I am doing at the moment: journalism and photography. I want to find new challenges. When I came to South Africa in 2004, it was my dream to become a foreign correspondent. I have fulfilled that dream,  a bit faster than I initially expected. I also wanted to lots of travel writing. That too has ben accomplished. I also wanted to break into the South African market and expand my list of tapped-in publications. That too worked out well.

As we speak, I have published stories and photographs in over 30 different publications: Spits, Metro, Het Financieele Dagblad, Open Skies, Portfolio, De Gazet van Antwerpen, De Stentor, Panorama, Black Business Quarterly, Energy Forecast, Leadership in HIV, Leadership, Mail & Guardian, Mining Magazine, I-Net Bridge, Business Day, Cape Community Newspapers, Cape Times, De Telegraaf, BBC World’s website, Cape Town Magazine, Publico Newspaper, Southern Times (Namibia), Detail Magazine, various annual reports including the one by the Danish Development Organisation DANIDA, All Africa, The Luxury List, Mobility Magazine, Productivity SA, Moue Magazine, Imagine Magazine, …

Without bragging and sugar-coating myself in 100% pure arrogance: I am proud of what  I have accomplished over the past years and I am determined to continue to build on that.

Apart from that, I am determined to grow as a person, to be there for my friends, to be more in contact with ‘my people’ in The Netherlands and to perhaps even to find a nice trustworthy guy who has the stamina to put up with me, and does not want me to be someone I am not. Oh, and last but not least: no to try to ninja chop my way around the lounge when spotting a cockroach.

But first things first. And that is to get back to work! It has been a while, as I just came back from a fantastic holiday in Nature’s Valley.

All I can say now is: Bring on 2011 and I hope the next 350-odd days will be nice to you!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 10, 2011 in The World of Mir

 

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My 2011 New Year resolutions


With Santa and his cronies being around the corner and the first day 2011 just a week or so away, it is time for me to draw up my list of new year resolutions. I must tell you that never do this, to be very honest. I hate new year resolutions because well, I never tend to stick to them. Half way through the first week I am basically back to square one. But since 2010 was a bit of a nightmare year and I want 2011 to kick ass, I tought: why the hell not? At least these are resolutions that are doable.

1) I will not allow a cockroach to fracture my hand – Earlier this year, I fractured my hand because of my fear for cockroaches. Now that is something that will not happen again. Ever-ever.

2) I will not ditch someone via sms / facebook / skype / pigeons / smoke signals – My Significant Other a while back felt it was necessary to let me know that ‘we’ are no longer ‘we’ – via the sms. I knew it was coming, sort of, so I am very much able to deal with the fact that from now on I will be falling asleep and waking up on my own. Let’s say that I have done it before and that I have become shareholder in the Global Super Broken Heart Super Glue Distributors.

Yes, there is a ‘but’ coming. The fact that this had to be done via the sms, was a gynormous knock below the belt. Anyway, to keep a long story short: If I ever end up with someone again and I decide that this particular person is for what ever reason not my match, I promise to act like a grow-up and not use the buttons of my Blackberry to let him know about my decision. I will suck it up, grow some balls and face that person (and the music that comes with it).

3) I will not have my Macbook stolen ever again – During a conference organised by the Economist at Cape Town’s Westin Grand Hotel, my Macbook was stolen. That was one day before my ex Significant Other broke up with me for the second time, by the way (this is the third time). This will not happen again, mark my lips. I have a new machine now which I have equipped it with a GPS tracker. I have also bought a cable with which I can tie computer a the conference table.

4) I will continue to cherish my friends – My friends are my family, and are the corner stones of my soul and sanity. I love you guys to bits, and thanks a gazillion for all the support, laughs, hangovers, glasses of wine, smiles, giggles and hugs over the past year. You guys are simply the best and you are the reason I am still in South Africa. It is because of you guys I feel I am not a foreigner, but a person who truly belongs in this country.  There are plenty of more things I would like to say to you, my dear friends, but I rather do it in person instead of via some hitech communication method.

5) I will kick ass BIG TIME as a (freelance) journalist & photographer – Apart from the heaps of personal bulls shit 2010 has given me, work-wise the past 360-something days were extremely good.  Since I started my career as a journalist in 2002, I have published stuff in over 30 different publications worldwide. Currently, I have quite a few prestigious clients under my wings. Without being arrogant: I am really proud of that and therefore I am determined to kick some more ass in 2011.

6) I will not have hair highlights done EVER again – Yesterday, a few hours before the ex Significant Other sent me ‘the’ sms, I decided to have some highlights done. Subtle highlights. You know, as in ‘sun kissed hair’. Clearly the chick in charge of my ‘do’ was deaf or stupid or stubborn, or maybe she simply did not understand what the word ‘subtle’ meant. What ever the case was: my reflexion on the mirror almost made my choke on my tea. I looked like a freaking zebra, with Marilyn Monroe blonde streaks adorning my chocolate-brown hair. Like someone dropped a bucket of ivory paint over my locks. Luckily she managed to fix things without shaving my hair off.

7 ) I will visit my family in The Netherlands – I have not been in my country of birth since June 2009 and that has to change. I miss my 84-year old granny and my bestest and oldest friend José and my folks a lot. So, hopefully, I will catch a plane in March to go see them. Do not get me wrong: I love South Africa. But sometimes living abroad is damn hard, simply because you have two worlds to think of and not just one.

8) I will write my grandfather’s story – My grandfather was an amazing man. His story of how he was arrested by the Germans during World War 2, sent off to Berlin, escaped from there, was rearrested, and sent to a salt mine in Northern Germany as a prisoner of war. There he met a Russian girl called Maria, who lived at a women;s concentration camp. It was an innocent love, but it went deep. When the Germans realised they were about to lose the war, they put Maria and other women in army trucks and drove them into the river. Most of them died. He managed to escape and walked all the way back to The Netherlands. He ended up marrying the girl next door (litterally), my beloved 84-year old Grandmother. His story needs to be written down. Period.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 24, 2010 in The World of Mir

 

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When Twitterers turn into Twats


Tantrum of the day

One of the annoying sides of being a journalist is having Bob and his uncle and his brother and his second cousins and their neighbours knocking on your virtual door with some story they think the world should absolutely know. Sometimes you are presented with absolute gems of stories yet sometimes, well, you are told about visions of Mary and Jesus and Joseph in packs of cornflakes, cats with five legs that can do the Cha Cha and other useless crap.

You also have people who present you with a potentially interesting story and who come with all sorts of allegations but refuse to tell you a) who they are b) where they got their information. Instead of coming clean, they remain hidden behind a virtual wall called Twitter or Facebook.

Yesterday was a classic example. In the afternoon, I was contacted by a Twitterer / Tweeter / Twat / Twit by the name of @Dewaninews. He had read one of my stories for I-net Bridge on the Dewani murder saga.

In short: In November this year a honeymooning couple – Anni and Shrien Dewani – got hijacked in Gugulethu. Hubby and driver are pushed out of car, wife is taken with, shot three times and killed. What seemed to be a ‘conventional’ gang murder South African style could possibly turn into something totally different – if the allegations and rumours are true of course. The fact that Shrien has been arrested in connection to the murder does not make him guilty just yet. Because we live in a democracy and a civilized state, and no longer in the middle ages. And in civilized states you are innocent until proven otherwise.

Anyway, back to my Twatter @Dewaninews, who spammed me with tweets for about an hour or two and ignored various requests for an email address. As a journalist it is my task to check not only my facts but also sources. The source claims he / she sent me a telephone number – which again proved to be BS. My replies have been erased because I have blocked him in the meantime.

A few tweets:

@dewaninews-  Shrien #Dewani is not to be trusted. I’ve known him since 1990. DM me for more info.

@dewaninews – I went to school with him + live near his family. He’s been involved in petty crime b4 + his dad always bails him out.

@dewaninews – he’s obsessed with the film ‘Scarface’ + often boasted he could have people “whacked” (murdered). But most of all – he is gay.

@dewaninews – his family, especially his Dad, put huge pressure on him to marry. Shrien is homosexual though

@dewaninews – true that petty crime does not nec mean murder. He has a history of getting away with crime tho. He felt above the law true that petty crime does not nec mean murder. He has a history of getting away with crime tho. He felt above the law true that petty crime does not nec mean murder. He has a history of getting away with crime tho. He felt above the law

@dewaninews – actually it does if you are gay and forced to marry a woman when you’re not attracted to women. This’ll all be in Daily Mail

@dewaninews – Daily Mail piece will be out online later today. Reason Shrien’s last engagement broke down is coz he is gay and she found out

@dewaninews – it may sound trivial to you but Anni threatened to ‘out’ Shrien as gay to her family and his #Dewani – he killed her instead

@dewaninews – you may as well just wait and copy the Daily Mail piece. South African press been doing that a lot. UK first with news!

@dewaninews – I’m very fond of your work actually

@dewaninews – I’ve already told you who I am. I’m a Bristolian who has known Shrien and fam for years

@dewaninews – I’m not sure you have enough clout for me to proceed. I’m only interested in big-name newspapers

@dewaninews – let’s meet for s*x Miri

@dewaninews – @urcrazytoo @miriammannak Shrien’s gay. He killed her so his family wouldn’t find out he is a faggot #Dewani

@dewaninews – I’ve DM’d you my phone number #Dewani #ShrienIsGay

And so the “conversation” goes.

Look @Dewaninews, buddy, whether you have your facts right or not – journalists who take their job seriously will never ever ever write something like: “Shrien Dewani is gay and therefore he killed his wife”, said a tweeter who claims to have gone to school with Mr Dewani’s but who refuses to disclose his or her identity.

We.Won’t.Do.Anything.With.It.If.We.Don’t.Know.Who.You.Are. We won’t, no matter how good your story might sound. Well, I won’t do anything with it. Period and case closed.

Why? Because you could be anyone, from a 13-year old school girl with braces, his former fiancée, my next door neighbour, and a random bored housewife to an ex-mate who for what ever reason wants to get even.

So come clean @dewaninews. If you are as real as you say you are, you send me that email I asked you for.  If not: leave me the hell alone and get a life. Thanks.

 

 

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Thought Leader: My road safety tantrum


Column of the day

There she was. A pretty blonde mommy of a darling daughter, cruising to wherever she was going in her shiny red Ford Fiesta. While she was busy SMSing on her cellphone, she forgot to use her indicator. Instead of going straight ahead she turned right. Next to her, her daughter — a pretty little angel in a white dress with pink flowers — was sitting on her knees, leaning with her hands on the dashboard. She smiled, mommy smiled. A happy little family. Bliss.

What is wrong with this picture? As far as I know EVERYTHING!

In South Africa, when it comes to traffic and road safety, there seems to be this prevailing slack mindset comprising elements such as “that’s not gonna happen to me”, “ag, there are never roadblocks so I can drink”, “who cares?”, “I will be fine, trust me, I will be fine. I have been driving for XX years” and “mind your own business, it is my life”.

It is a mentality that is found across all segments of society. While minibus drivers skip red lights, cut you off, and ignore railway track warning signals, yuppie boys from green leafy suburbs have no issues with crawling behind the wheel after half a dozen dops. In addition, scores of adults from all walks of life see no harm in letting their offspring bounce around in the back and front seats. In Cape Town in particular, the non-use of indicators is a pandemic and so is speeding and texting while driving.

Ooooh, you think I am exaggerating now? Then please do me a favour. Please have a proper look when you are on the road. For an entire day, please monitor how many times people:

a) Drive while using their cellphone;
b) Do not use their indicators;
c) Don’t wear their safety belts;
d) Do not have their children strapped in;
e) Drive too fast;
f ) Skip red lights;
g) Have no issues crawling behind the wheel after a night out;
h) Drive in cars that are not supposed to be on the road;
i) Sit in the front passenger seat with a child on their lap — no safety belt; and
j) Transport others in the back of their bakkie.

Look people, the statistics do not lie. They simply don’t. Every year, approximately 15 000 people die on our roads. That is 41 people EVERY DAY, which comes down to almost two people an hour. In other words: Since I started writing this column, one person has died in traffic and another one is about to get hit but a car, flung through a windscreen or run over. That is a not a result of people attaching value to road safety.

Personally, I have forgotten how many times I have cursed at people who see their indicators as mere decoration. I have forgotten how many times I had to swerve out of the way because of some idiot being preoccupied with the other person in the other lane. Just one of my friends, and I have heaps of them, has a hands-free set that he uses all the time. He happens to be from Europe. I have forgotten how many times I had to ask friends to use their safety belts. I am fed up of being annoyed when people jump behind the wheel after having a couple of drinks too many. “But there is no public transport,” is usually the reply. “Otherwise we’d … ”

Bullshit. Utter bullshit. You cannot ignore your own responsibility and sensibility by blaming something else for not existing. There are ways to have fun without putting yourself and others in danger. What about taking a cab back home? What about having a designated driver? What about calling a Rikkis taxi? What about one of those “you drink we drive” services? What about drinking less? What about drinking water in between dops?

Why this rant? I will never forget an accident site I witnessed as a reporter a couple of years ago. It was horrific. Two cars had collided on the N1. One person died: a small child. By the time the boy, who had been sitting in the front seat without wearing a safety belt, hit his skull against the tarmac, it was game over.

I will never ever forget the look on his mother’s face. Utter sadness. Devastation. Humiliation. Grief. Anger. Hopelessness. Disbelief. But most of all I saw guilt. Guilt because she had known better. Guilt because she could have prevented his death. Guilt because she had not been thinking. Guilt because she knew she was the one to blame. Not for the accident, but for her son’s death.

Now, every time I see a young child in the front seat who is not wearing a safety belt I think of that little boy who died a couple of years ago. Like him, the little blonde thing did not realise the necessity of a safety belt. Her mommy, however, the person responsible for her safety, did. Right?

 

* This column, written by Miriam Mannak, was published on Thought Leader / Mail & Guardian in October 2010 *

 

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THOUGHTLEADER: My billion gone AWOL column


Column of the day

Please do me a favour and jump back in time – say 12 to 16 months back. You are driving home from work and the radio is on. All of a sudden the news presenter announces how the RXXXX billion for Cape Town’s / Joburg’s / Rustenburg’s / Durban’s stadium has vanished without a trace. Therefore the construction has been halted and as a result the stadium will not be completed in time. “Cape Town / Joburg / Rustenburg / Durban therefore will not be part of the world’s biggest party, as the authorities say they have no idea where the money went and can’t account for it. Construction company has therefore decided to go on strike until the city shows them the money,” the presenter adds.

What would your response have been? How would the world have reacted? Exactly. It would have been smokin’ hot news around the globe and the information would have dominated every newspaper’s headline days on end. I am pretty sure people would have hit the streets to protest screaming “where is the money? We want the world cup!”.

I am damn sure.

So *why* is it that not a soul in this country is raising his or her voice with regards to the media reports that claim that R44 billion (almost *tenfold* of the price tag attached to the Cape Town stadium) has been lost by various provincial departments of education? Only three of our nine provincial departments – THREE! – had a clean audit this year. The cash that has gone walkies represents *one third* of the amount the national education budget has reserved for the provinces (R123 billion).

*Takes a deep breath*

I surely hope these media reports are wrong. Just as wrong as the stories about the government admitting to have lost R10.5 billion in social grants. The latter amount, if true, is the equivalent to about 10 million pensions, dear readers!

All in all, if all of the above is true and if the journalists haven’t made a typo, the total amount of money that has gone AWOL (well, the amount we know about …) is worth more than double the amount the World Bank lent Eskom (±R26 billion) to sort out its shit. That is not pocket change. It is a bloody big chunk of cash! Tax payers’ money! OUR money! Money WE have worked for! Money that was given to us by international governments to help us out; money earned by Europeans and Americans and god knows who else!

So why are we sitting behind our computers and TVs and Wii’s and play stations instead of hitting the streets to hold the leaders accountable? Why has the information above not been in the headlines more prominently? Why-Why-Why?

*Takes another deep breath, lights incense, dims lights and takes on some Zennish yoga position*

What on earth is the rest of the world supposed to think about us, now? Earlier this year, the European Union gave South Africa 123 million euro (R1.3 billion) to improve its primary education system. Yesterday, the European Union pledged another chunk of development assistance (predominantly meant for health care improvement) worth 138 million euro (± R1.4 billion). If I were a European policy maker, I’d put a big fat red line through these and future promises and feed the documents to my dog. Why sink cash into a bottomless pit?

Look, I too lose stuff. I lose my keys, I love my mind, I lose my sense of humour and sometimes I just lose my cool. Dúh. I have lost CDs, bank cards, phones and lighters. People lose stuff, I understand that. But how can it be that our very leaders who are supposed to take care of this country and those living in it lose billions of rands which are so very very much needed to make this land a ‘better place for all’? You need to have a serious talent for that.

You might think: take a chill pill as there is nothing we can do about it. Well, I refuse. Sure, it is what it is but that does not mean it should be. As a full-time believer in this country, I am angry. Fuming. The cash that has gone walkabout could have for instance been spent to tackle the shortage of 42.000 nurses (ratio patient:nurse -> 100.000:140, that’s 23% less than the world average), to raise salaries of those who work in this field and to make sure public hospitals in rural areas can function properly. How insane is it that someone who is responsible to save lives only earns R60.000 per year? That is – with all do respect – f*k*ll.

If the government does not do something very very quickly, youngsters will no longer decide to study to become a nurse or a teacher. I can’t blame them either. Why would you graft for years and years at Uni to earn peanuts and to be overburdened and to work in a crappy hospital that is falling apart where babies are dying en masse? I wouldn’t, I am sorry.

I, in the meantime, hope that these figures are the product of a typo comprising two to five zeros.

Column was written by Miriam Mannak / Thought Leader / Mail & Guardian (October 2010)

 

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